Portuguese Supreme Court Suspends Transfer of Eça de Queiroz’s Remains
Supreme Administrative Court Intervenes
The Supreme Administrative Court (STA) in Portugal has recently made a significant decision to suspend the planned transfer of the remains of celebrated writer Eça de Queiroz to the National Pantheon. This decision comes in response to a precautionary measure filed by six great-grandchildren of the writer, effectively putting a halt to the controversial transfer process.
The court’s ruling stated that although the majority of de Queiroz’s heirs are in favor of the move, the dissenting views of the minority who initiated the action cannot be disregarded. The STA further clarified that the choice to bestow Pantheon honors is the exclusive competence of Parliament and not influenced by the wishes of the writer or the general public. The court’s role, in this case, is to intervene only in legal matters, not political ones.
Resolution to Grant National Pantheon Honors
The resolution to grant National Pantheon honors to Eça de Queiroz was passed unanimously by Parliament on January 15, 2021. This initiative was driven by a foundation commemorating the author and fully supported by the parliamentary group of the Socialist Party. However, the STA’s decision came so close to the planned ceremony’s date, initially scheduled for 27th of the current month, leaving insufficient time to prepare for the transfer. Consequently, the ceremony has been suspended until a final decision is made.
Controversy and Criticism
Despite the unanimous approval of the resolution in the Parliament, the move has not been without controversy. A small group of de Queiroz’s descendants wrote to the President of the Assembly of the Republic proposing an alternative: to honor the writer with an evocative plaque in the Pantheon without transferring his remains. They believe his remains should continue to rest in Tormes, his current resting place.
Antonio Fonseca, the ex-president of the Parish Council of Santa Cruz do Douro, where de Queiroz’s remains currently lay, has been vocal about his opposition to the move. He hailed the court’s decision as a significant victory for the town of Baião and criticized the proponents of the resolution for not consulting with the family or the public before making the decision.
Unsettled Dispute and Ongoing Demonstrations
Despite the court’s ruling, the dispute is far from settled. A demonstration planned against the transfer of de Queiroz’s remains will proceed as planned. This protest, according to Fonseca, will serve as a show of gratitude to de Queiroz and as a contestation to those who proposed the resolution, indicating strong local convictions and the ongoing controversy surrounding the transfer.
In the meantime, the issue is set to return to the Assembly of the Republic for further deliberation. As for the final decision on whether de Queiroz’s remains will be moved to the National Pantheon, it remains to be seen.
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